Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rocket science can even make a porta potty rocket

It’s Fun Friday!  Enjoy this YouTube video of people who turned a porta potty into a rocket, complete with a parachute decent system.  Very impressive…I’ve never seen a project as weird and wacky as this, which also had to take a lot of work.  The video is just 1 minute long.


For a more accessible and safe rocket project, you can do it yourself with Estes rocket kits found in hobby stores.  But the best program in the U.S. (that I know of) is Team America Rocketry Challenge:

TARC logo

TARC logo

This is a wonderful program to get kids learning, building, and doing rocket science with hands-on activities that design and build their own rockets in a team setting.  We need more rocket scientists!  If you are above the age for this contest then you’re probably perfect to be a volunteer.

Building and launching your own rocket before you’ve left school is a fantastic way to apply Tips 3, 6, 7, and 9 from my book.  Probably more than that…

Just be sure to stay clear of falling porta potties and make a large safety zone (larger than this team!).  Or be careful about your wind thresholds because that was obviously a factor on this launch.

If you’ve got other funny or fascinating things that have been launched like a rocket, please share with me so we can recognize, celebrate, and enjoy other fun ways to apply rocket science.

ISS false alarm shows these 2 important lessons

Various news sources report that yesterday Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) evacuated into the Russian segment after an ammonia leak alarm went off.  Here is coverage on Space News. There are many lessons we here on Earth can draw from this.  Here are two big ones. First, always know what your emergency exit […]

Be a rocket scientist with a growth mindset

How to be a rocket scientist if you aren’t there yet?  It will take more than facts and knowledge.  It will take the right mindset.  How to be a better or more successful rocket scientist if you’ve already started?  The right mindset!

Carol Dweck is someone you need to know and listen to (or read) if you haven’t yet.  Even if you have, this 11-minute video from one of her TEDx appearances is a must-see.  It is especially inspiring for teachers and parents.

“Let’s not waste anymore lives.”  That means yours!  And any potential future rocket scientist that might be in your midst.  We need more rocket scientists, and a growth mindset will make it happen.  Rocket scientists with a growth mindset is exactly what we need too.

You can buy Carol Dweck’s best-selling book on Amazon here: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success


Brett Hoffstadt is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Using an Andon cord

In Lean Manufacturing (and originally the Toyota Production System or TPS), there is an Andon cord on the manufacturing line.  Whenever ANYONE sees a quality problem, they are able and encouraged to pull this cord.  It stops the entire line.  This post is also about my paperback. Putting an Andon cord so accessible and inviting […]

SpaceX shows rocket science is like squeezing JELL-O 4

Over the weekend, SpaceX successfully launched their 5th (fifth!) Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule to resupply the ISS. Company news with some photos is here. This was the primary and most important criteria for the mission–to resupply the International Space Station.  But of course, I and millions of other people were eager to learn the […]

Engineer your innovation blog has launched 2

We still need more rocket scientists!  But here is what else we need: engineers and engineering companies who  innovate successfully!  Combining the hard, analytical “stuff” with the squishy, artistic “stuff” of innovation and creativity is not easy.  Do it successfully and you create something awesome. I believe I have a lot to add there (or […]

The power of rapid feedback loops

I am loving the book publishing services through Amazon and CreateSpace!  Even the physical paperback book is possible to tweak and update on a fast and frequent basis.  It is entirely print on demand (POD), so I have zero inventory costs and so does CreateSpace/Amazon. “You don’t have to be great to get started.  But […]

Paperback quality control is underway

On Friday, January 9th, 2015, the paperback edition of How To Be a Rocket Scientist is unavailable on Amazon while an update to the digital file is under review and processing.  Thanks to one owner of the launch configuration (Jason) who gave me more grammar improvement suggestions than I expected!  To thank him for that […]

Flugtag best flights are aviation comedy

For this Fun Friday post, let’s enjoy highlights from Red Bull Flugtag competitions from across the world over the years.


Have you ever been to a Flugtag event?  Or better yet, participated?  Tell us about it!

I’ve really wanted to go to one of these events but it’s never been in a city where I lived.  And making the road trip with small children (or leaving them with the wife) hasn’t been an option.  Not yet anyway.

Flugtag proves that you can have a lot of fun making yourself or other things fly through the air…if you call this flying.  You’ll see the world record (as of this video) had more than some amateur rocket scientist effort involved.

Red Bull has of course been involved as a major sponsor in other (more serious and historic) aerospace events.  Those are worth separate posts in the future.

Happy flying and happy weekend!


How to make the world a better place

Millions of people in France and around the world are doing their best to make sense of the terrorist attack yesterday.  How should we deal with it?  How can we do something that makes a positive difference? I offer my humble sympathies and condolences for everyone affected.  It is a real tragedy.  We must acknowledge […]